NIGERIA: Nigerian Christians ask for urgent prayer
18 Jun 2012
On Sunday, three suicide bomb attacks took place on three churches in Kaduna. This is the third consecutive Sunday that has seen gun or bomb attacks on churches in northern or central states.
Church services bombed in Kaduna
Last Sunday a suicide bomber rammed a car full of explosives into the ECWA Good News Church in Zaria, destroying the children's church and killing a child and a young man. Several people were wounded, including CSW's Nigeria Coordinator for the area.
On the same day, two suicide bombers in separate cars attacked Christ the King Catholic Church as the congregation was leaving mass, killing sixteen people and injuring several others.
Meanwhile, in Kaduna City, another bomb exploded at the Shalom Pentecostal Church as ushers were interrogating the bomber, killing three people.
As with the attack on the previous weekend in Jos, the bombings sparked violence as angry youths took to the streets to protest the seeming inability to prevent the incessant bombings. A 24-hour curfew is now in place, although the situation is still very tense.
"Weekends are now a terror for Christians in central and northern Nigeria"
According to our contacts and partners on the ground, without urgent prayer the future of Nigeria looks desperately bleak.
Speaking of his heartbreak at the incessant bombings, Anglican Archbishop of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi, said, "Weekends are now a terror for Christians in northern and central Nigeria. My heart truly bleeds at the unnecessary killings and I am deeply saddened that in a nation like Nigeria there are people who sponsor, plan, train and support people to execute evil specifically targeted against worship of God on Sundays by Christians in churches. Bad as that is in itself, it is also succeeding in creating more unbelievers, as people who are leaving the Church in frustration at incessant attacks are cleaving to traditional methods of self preservation and survival. Both are condemnable. The denial of true worship of God in churches will only succeed in breeding more such people. If peaceful Christians continue to be massacred, I'm afraid there will only be pagans to negotiate with as the Church will be no more. It is therefore imperative for the world to arise, not just in support of the Church and Christians, but also in support of peaceful co-existence, with all religions contributing their quota towards human development in Nigeria particularly and Africa generally."
CSW-Nigeria's CEO told us, "Attacks on Christians while they legitimately worship on Sundays are now a common occurrence. Unless the culture of impunity is overcome, our country will slowly slip into another civil war that will be fought along religious lines."
Christians in Nigeria are asking for worldwide prayers to help bring an end to this horrific violence. In the words of the Archbishop, "Christians and well meaning people everywhere must rise up for peace and speak out against injustice, seeking every opportunity for reconciliation and forgiveness so that Nigeria will be restored. I call for concerted prayers throughout the Church worldwide in order that those who are working for peace will not grow weary in well doing."
- For all those who have lost loved ones in attacks by Boko Haram, asking God to comfort and uphold them, sustaining them with His peace.
- For CSW-Nigeria's Coordinator for Zaria who was injured in one of the attacks. Pray for full healing for him and others who were injured during the other attacks.
- Ask God to move in power to expose Boko Haram's plans, members, funders and backers and bring an end to every aspect of the violence perpetrated by the group.
- For the protection of CSW-Nigeria staff as they seek to support victims of the violence.
- Ask God to grant wisdom, courage and strength to church leaders as they seek to lead and guide their congregations through these turbulent times.